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CHAPTER V 
SECnC^ II 

Soaae Aspects of the Gragnmar and Phonology of Akawaio aixj Arekuna 

Ihe Akawaio and Arekuna languages are very closely related linguistically. 
They have so neny . linguistic properties in ccnnon that in marry cases conversations 
can 256 carried on between monolingual Akawaios and Arekunas with nea3>-perfect 
intelligibility. The linguistic differences between the languages are mainly at the 
0K3netic l^vel (i.e. in the sounds used by speakers) but there are some granmatical 
differences as well. B^low we present the sounds used in Akawaio and Arekuna. and 
also seme of t3ie gramnatical characteristics of these languages^ No attonpt will . 
be made in this wDrk to present full linguistic descriptions. Hany details and finer 
distinctions will be siqjpressed in the interest of brevity and siiiplicity. 

(a) The Sounds of Akawaio and Arekuna 



(i) The Vowels 










Phonetic 
RealizaticHi 


Guide to 
Pronunciation 


Spelling 


Occurrence 
in Akawaio 


Occurrence 
in AreJcuna 


[i] 


as in beat 


ii 


+ 


-»• 


li] 


as in beat 
pronounced with the 
tongue a bit lower in 
the mouth and its central 
ar>ea (rather than its 
front) raised towards the 
froit of the hard palate. 


1 


+ 


+ 


U] 


as in bit 


i 


+ 


rarely 


[e] 


as in bait 


ee 


+ 


+ 


[0] 


as in bait 


o 


+ 


+ 



but with tSe lips 
sli^rtly rouTKJied and the 
tongue sli^Ttlv retracted' 
towards tii^. centre of the 
mouth. 



m. 



Fhonetic 
Realization 


Guide to r 
ItownciatiCTi 


felling 


C)ccuprence 
Aka^iio 


Oocurrenoe 


U] 


as in bet 


e 


+ 


+ 


[a] 


as in bat 


Q 


+ 


+ 


[o] 


as in not 





+ 


+ 


lo] 


as in note 


00 


+ 


+ 


I"] 


as in put 


U 


+ 


rarely 


I«] 


as in pool 


uu. 


+ 


+ 


Ihe following di0i13K8ig8 (i.e. two-vowel oonft>iivatio?is uttered as 


single nuclei 


ki syllables) occur 


in Akawaio and Arekuna: 


[aii, [au], [oi]Jixi], [ii], [ei], [0i], 


(eu], Akawaio also has two diphtixxigs tMch do not occur 


in Arekuna. 


These are 


I«] and [ie]. 










!rhe Consaoants 










Rranetic 
Realizatican 


Guide to 
Pmnunciatico 


Spelling' 


Occurrence 
USSio 


Occurronce 
AreRiaia 


lb] 


as in bet 


b: 


+ 


~ 


[p] 


as in £et 


P 


+ 


+ 


W 


as in dip 


d 


+ 


- 


[t] 


as in tip, 


t 


+ 


+ 


[g] 


as in go 


g 


+ 


- 


W 


as in king 


k 


+ 


+ . 


m 


as in the brief 
pause in the ndddle 
of an Etigll«5h oh-oh 


k 


+ 


+ 


[«1 


as in «ip 


2' 


+ 


.-r/--. 


[8] 


as in sip 


s 


+ 


+ 


[3] 


as in pleasure 


2h 


+■ 


.r-: 


[X] 


as in ship 


sh 


+ 


— . 



Phorietic 
RealizatiOTi 


Guide to 
Prxaiuntciatioi 


Spelling 


Occurrence 
in Akawaio 


Occurrence 
in Arekuna 


[d3] 


as in jump 


5 




-♦• 




+ 


ItJ) 


as in church 


ch 




+ 




+ 


[«] 


as in roon^ 


m 




+ 




+ 


[n] 


as in none 


n 




+ 




+ 


1^3 


as in Creole 
English nyaro 






+ 




- 


[r] 


as in water-rat, 


r 




+ 




+ 



[y] 



[w] 



but with the 
tongue flapping 
against Itebadc 
of the upper front 
teeth onoe. In a 
raore linguistic 
presentation this 
kind of sound would 
be syihbolized as [?] 

as in ;^am 

as in^ambut 
with the tongue 
shaped very ranch like 
i-^isinthe pronunciation 
of an Dfiglish[rj. Ihis 
time, however, the tip 
of the tongue bends down- 
wstrds towards the lower 
front teeth. 



y 
y 



+ 
rarely 



as in wxpe w + + 

Seme Phonological Traits of Akawai5 and Arekuna 

(i) Fhcneme Inventory 

An exEBidnation of the sounds of these two languages shows that both Akawaio 
and Arekuna have vowel and consonant sounds not found in Ehglish and that thev lack 
sane English sounds - neither language has the lateral {!] , for instance. . An 
interesting fact of Arekuna phonology is that it does not have voiced true con- 
sonants (obstruents). Ihere are, for instance, no [b], [d], [gj, [v] and [ds] 



36, 



sounds in Ar^kuna. Akawaio has these latter sounds but neither Akawaio nor Arekuna 
his [f]. The presence in Akawaio and the absence in Arekuna of voiced obsts^uents is 
one of the mare strildng differences between the languages. 

Hii) Word Stress 

Ihere is a general tendency for nain stress in Akawaio and Arekuna to fall on - 
^ second syllable in two-syllable words. In three-syllable words madn stress tends 
to fall on the second syllable and in words of more than three syllsdjles the third 
syllable tends to attract primary stress. There are, however, many exceptions to 
these tendencies. 

Different stress patteiais on the same" string of sounds can change their meaning 
e.g. 

(Akawaio) kuigwaik - a kind of ant 

kupwaik - dart 

(Arekuna) inna - we 

inna - yes 

(Primary or nain stress is shown by the diacritic [ • ] placed ijnuediately. above the 
stressed syllable. The urroarked sjfllable has weak stress). 

Vowel length can saietimes change the meaning of identical strings of sounds 
e.g. 



(Akawaio) 


mbi 


- little, boy 




mo: I 


r pubic h^ 


(Arekuna) 


a:tXi 


■^ sister 




at/i 


- infected sore 



(The synix)l [ :] placed iimediately after a vowel indicates that it is Icng). 



Edwards, Walter F. 1977. An Introduction to the Akawaio and Arekuna 
Peoples of Guyana. Guyana: Georgetown University.